Light Talk Blog 2020 – No. 2 / Vlog Ep20
By Martin Klaasen
(written content taken from the Light Talk Vlog recorded 10th September 2020 & published on YouTube & IGTV; edited and adapted for Medium & WordPress by Ingmar Klaasen)
Welcome to another edition of Light Talk. Light Talk has been a vlog for the last couple of months and now recently we also moved to doing it as a podcasts and blog. Hence, I sort of need to feel my balance on how to do that. I’m trying to learn how to develop content for all these things, so bear with me as I develop these platforms. In saying that, I will try to reach out on a more regular basis.
The last two weeks have been a bit exciting because I just became a grandad. So obviously my focus has been with my little granddaughter, a little bundle of joy to hold in your hands, and with my son now obviously becoming father. It’s a new stage in my life I’m really looking forward to. Obviously I’m a bit distracted at the moment, so that’s why there hasn’t been any vlogs or podcasts in the last two weeks. We are really looking forward to seeing little Adeline grow up.
That Unsettling Feeling
On another note, I feel a bit unsettled; not because of becoming a grandfather, but by the whole situation in the world. The fact that we are living in this Covid-19 pandemic, which I really think is unsettling a lot of people in terms of business, in terms of the way of life, in terms of relationships, in terms of everything. This may seem a bit dark but it is it is something that worries me for the future. We still have a lot of work, so from that point of view we can count ourselves lucky. My whole team is lucky to still have a lot of work. From this point of view things are looking okay. However, the whole world seems to be upside down at the moment and I’m not sure whether governments know exactly the way to move forward. It’s the same for us. I guess I’m unsettled because I used to be in a plane every week and now I’ve been in Singapore for five-six and in Perth now for the last two months. It may sound strange but for somebody who’s used to travelling around the world, being on an airplane, visiting sites and doing all that as a big part of my life. Now I’m sort of recalibrating myself to being at home. I’ve started to work in the garden and started a veggie patch and looking after my fruit trees and things like that. It’s a different perspective, it’s something that I love doing, but never really had the time or made the time to do due to work.
The other thing is having different places: I have my base here in Perth; I also have a base in Singapore; and I also have a base in Europe. So finding a balance in the future will be something that I will need to find. I’m not sure how that’s going to work out. We’re all trying to find our balance in life in our own ways.
Virtual Lighting Design Community
In the coming months we’ll see a lot of events happen; a lot of virtual events. It’s clear that all those trade shows are not going to happen, and we are now seeing virtual trade shows and big virtual webinars kicking off. For example, in the coming months we have Darc Room, we have the IALD Enlighted and several others. All that is going to come up and people are inviting you to participate and I will certainly also participate to understand how that all works because it’s our new world of virtual events and virtual trade shows. It’s interesting to understand how that works and which parts will be there for the long run and which parts are only temporary. Because of the Covid-19 situation we will add our own little contribution in the terms of our Virtual Lighting Design Community (VLDC). I’ve previously mentioned we’re aiming at kicking off in January 2021 so as to not confuse the market right now whilst there are so many things going on. The idea is to build up momentum with a number of warm-up events, hopefully in the next two to three months, for a big start in the next year. So stay tuned!
The “Let There Be Light” Challenge
Last time I had said that I was participating in the “Let there be light” challenge. However, I have to say I’m sort of defaulting on that challenge right now, specifically because my “let there be light” moment really is my little granddaughter; so I think that covers it for me. I may still participate here and there, but to be honest I have not been good in following up, so my apologies to those who nominated me.
Remote Project Design Reviews
Now with travel being basically non-existent, we are moving to doing everything remotely and virtually. For instance, we now have regular project design reviews via video conference calls. We are lucky enough to have people on the ground in many countries to follow up on site, hold the camera for us and know how to look at lighting. Having said this, the big thing for us is being able to see things the way we need to see them, which is not necessarily the way the camera picks things up. So when a camera is aimed at lighting you’re dealing with different lighting contrasts on the camera than what you would see in real life. To me it’s such a visual thing, something that I need to see in person to really be able to assess whether it’s done properly or not. Just basing my opinion on photographs or videos is quite challenging and I’m sure a lot of my fellow lighting designers are facing the same challenges. How do we do that properly? How do we assess a lighting situation properly if we can’t be there on the spot? But that’s part of the new world that we are entering.
An Overdose of Conference Calls and Virtual Meetings
There are now inundated conference calls and virtual meetings. It keeps on going: meetings on Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and others. To be honest it’s quite intense. Sometimes it feels as though people are creating meetings that are not really necessary. Just because you can attend any meeting from your home doesn’t mean that you have to have a meeting. So I would like to urge people to be careful with overdoing it with the meetings because it’s so easy. Still be mindful of people’s time because people still need time to do things and having all these meetings is not always a very efficient use of time. Although, if meetings can be managed properly and concisely (ie. with an agenda to go through and really stick to times), it can be very helpful. Some meetings just go on and on.
Commercially Driven vs Politically Correct
I have to say I’m dealing with different types of meetings: I’ve dealt with professionals, consultants, project management etc. very commercially driven. I’m also involved in a couple of government projects and that’s totally different. When you deal with government representatives they talk about different things. They don’t talk so much about time, rather they talk more about safety, security and complying with codes and standards. That’s quite an interesting contrast. Dealing with people’s commercial backgrounds on a project it’s more getting things done on time and on budget. On the contrary, whilst dealing with government institutions, it’s very interesting to see the different timelines and different focuses, political points of view and the importance of public engagement. How does it relate to the public and how will it be seen politically? Everything has to be politically correct and that’s a very different approach.
There have been some interesting developments in the UVC approach that may be helpful in the combat against Covid-19. Besides UVC at 254 nanometres, now there’s a growing body of research about Far UVC, which is around the 220 nanometres. Apparently it is not harmful to humans, which would be quite an interesting proposition if that could work and you could develop UVC on the far side to be integrated in lighting design to sanitise and disinfect spaces without any of the associated risks. Definitely something to follow and see how that develops; especially in terms opportunities.
Other than that stay optimistic, stay positive and the future will be there for everybody! These are challenging times, so stay positive and stay motivated!
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